25 Reasons To Celebrate The 25th Anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act

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25. Lifts on all Centro buses make it possible for passengers with disabilities to take public transit. (scroll to pages 6 and 7)

24. Closed caption glasses at Regal Cinemas allow deaf movie goers to enjoy watching movies in theaters.

23. Newly constructed buildings open to the public must be made accessible and the existing public spaces are required to be retrofitted for access where possible.

22. Fair Access for the Deaf provides interpreting for most of the events at the annual New York State Fair, including concerts.

21. Employees with disabilities are protected by ADA from discrimination. Employers cannot inquire about a disability during the hiring process.

20. Curb cuts are now a universal part of our modern streets. The need for accessibility doesn’t get more basic than allowing people with disabilities to safely cross the street and travel throughout their community.

19. Passage of the ADA has been called Independence Day for People with Disabilities.

18. The ADA was the end result of 70 years of disability rights organizing AND that work has not stopped in the 25 years since passage.

17. Title 4 of ADA requires accessibility in telecommunications. Modern internet technology companies understand that accessibility is not only important from a social justice standpoint, but it’s also good business.

16. The A.D.A. continues to help people with disabilities gain their freedom. In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Olmstead v. L.C. (527 U.S. 581) that the ADA prohibits the segregation of individuals with disabilities by isolating them in institutions.

15. Accessible Voting Machines. The 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA) cited the ADA and required all new machines to allow for independent voting by people with disabilities.

14. Under the ADA, service animals that assist people with disabilities—physical, sensory or psychiatric—are allowed to have their animals accompany them in places where the public is normally allowed to go.

13. The boom in adaptive sports has made a lie of the notion that a person with a disability is presumed to be unable to participate in sports. It is hard to find a sport that doesn’t have an adaptive corollary for people with disabilities.

12. The ADA expanded the concept of mainstreaming students with disabilities in our schools—the expectation that wherever possible children with disabilities will be educated alongside their peers without disabilities.

11. The ADA has codified innovation within its legal framework. In order to ensure fair and equal access, a person with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation from employers, landlords and others tailored to their individual needs.

10. Audio books. The original audiobook companies were geared for schools teaching people with visual disabilities. However, more and more people—regardless of visual ability—now take advantage of books, magazines, podcasts.

9. Audio communications have had a major impact on the lives of people with visual disabilities.  Voice recognition software has enabled the boom in smart phones and laptop computers to reach people with disabilities.

8. Accessible parking spots. There are reams of technical plans for how to create accessible parking spaces – – but all you really need to know is how these folks in Brazil greeted a non-disabled driver parking in an accessible spot.

7. There are tax credits available to small business owners to help defray the cost of work needed to comply with the ADA and remove barriers that will enable employees with disabilities to work.

6. Many jobs that were thought to be impossible for people with disabilities to work are open to all, thanks to both technology and the ADA.

5. The ADA empowers individuals to organize and advocate for change—often resulting dramatic breakthroughs for people with disabilities seeking to live an independent life.

4.The ADA makes it easier for people with hidden disabilities to publicly claim their disability. This is very important in a society where up to 70% of all disabilities can be characterized as being non-visible.

3. The idea that a person with a disability should have the right to live independently and become a contributing member of society has been strengthened by the ADA.

2. The ADA was the legal basis for arguing that there should be no limits placed on people with disabilities. But it is everyday people, living their lives, that makes the ADA a reality

1.The struggle for the passage of the ADA shows the determination and courage of the disability community.

“Would You Rather” Book Tag Tour

My friend Mitch Mitchell of the Syracuse Wiki (among other blogs) tagged me in one of those blogger challenges. This one was about reading–so I jumped on it!

I’m supposed to tag other bloggers–although several of the folks I read regularly already seem to have been tagged. So, if you want to do this–feel free!

Would you rather only read trilogies or only read standalones?
I would much rather read stand-alone books than trilogies. The best part of having read a good piece of fiction is to speculate on what happened to the characters. Oftentimes the official sequels are quite disappointing. Interesting question given the fact that we are on the cusp of the publication of Harper Lee’s alternative take on “To Kill A Mockingbird.” 50+ years after the original. Even though this book was written before—it deals with the same characters 20 years later. Apparently it takes Atticus Finch to some dark places.

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Owning My Disability

“I am a person with a disability.” I believe that this is the first time I have ever written this sentence. I just finished a post explaining the Americans with Disabilities Act–and realized that it was littered with personal possessives: “we” “our people” “us” “our.” I have been organizing for disability rights for a little less than a year and I was worried some might feel I was inappropriately identifying myself with others in the disability rights movement. I am not trying to appropriate another’s culture. I not only organize for disability rights, I am disabled and benefit from increased rights for people with disabilities. Read More »

Celebrating The 25th Anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act

ada25_adalegacytourThis year marks the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, popularly referred to as the ADA. The ADA is a companion to the landmark Civil Rights Acts passed in the 1960’s that outlawed discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex and national origin. The ADA prevents discrimination against people with disabilities in a wide range of activities and mandates that many private and all public services should be made accessible.

When the ADA was passed, it set its sights on several key areas of our society where people with disabilities faced discrimination and isolation. The law was drafted to cover the actions of employers, government agencies, providers of public transportation, telecommunication companies and the owners of any accommodations open to the general public.

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Syracuse U. & NCAA Sanctions: Tales From The Break Room

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I could write incessantly about Syracuse University and its problems with an out-of-control athletic department and an academic system too afraid to complain about their excesses–but then we have syracuse.com and its blanket coverage for that. (I’m still holding out for a “Fab Melo–where is he now?” article!)

I just want to say that I was both heartened and horrified by the message sent by Syracuse U. Chancellor Kent Syverud in a talk to more than 100 faculty members on March 16th. I was heartened because the administration realizes the seriousness of the academic fraud perpetrated by the University in the case of the Fab Melo grade change incident. I was horrified to learn just how fearful the academic faculty is of the athletic department. Read More »

The Tail Is Wagging The Dog Up On Piety Hill: Syracuse University Basketball & NCAA Sanctions

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One of my oldest friends and I regularly correspond about our Syracuse University basketball fanaticism. We both grew up during the emergence of the Cuse: starting as a small-time program with unheralded recruits and a middling record–to the national power-NCAA tourney-TV exposure juggernaut we root for today. Randy has moved out to Cali, but his allegiance has never dimmed.

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My Not-So-Secret Shame: I Have Lost Interest In Football

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Yeah, I’m not going to watch the Super Bowl this weekend. I have no rooting interest, the halftime show is pop drivel and I’m not a fan of the untrammeled capitalism that actually has made a separate sport out of watching (and rating) the commercials.

But let’s get down to brass tacks. It’s not just the Super Bowl. Football is a stain on American life. Football is popular because it works well on television, has the constant stops and starts that feeds our ADHD culture and it lends itself so easily to gambling. Football promotes a culture of violence, mindless conservative patriotism and corporate avarice. The league and its team owners revel in its success in breaking the players union–all the while it has refused to seriously address the horrible brain trauma and disability that the sport inflicts on the players–coincidence? I think not.

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